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Poster: Old_NJ_Head_Zimmer Date: Oct 21, 2006 5:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Under Rated Member of the Band

Billy is obviously the most under rated band member. Always hear people talk about Hunter when speaking about songs, meaning etc. When do you ever hear people talk about BK? Shit, you hear people talk more about Mickey and all his gadgets and cultural stuff. Listen to enough 72 through 74 and you'll know Billy could swing and was a real driving force in the music, helping it move and flow. Mickey was a "Percissionist". Anyway, Billy was there from the start to finish and NEVER gets his due.

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Poster: thewomble Date: Oct 25, 2006 10:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Under Rated Member of the Band

Billy. It's an old saying that a band is only as good as its drummer. I've been listening through the 1977 shows one by one for the last month or so, and there is some great exciting stuff there, but tonight I've switched back to 71 and the difference in the rhythm is striking. Billy on his own swings and adds wonderfully subtle fills. He dances through the songs. He emulates his hero Elvin Jones. The music becomes light and airy. By contrast the two drums of 77 and later gives him no space to play out and make a difference, and the rhythms are one-dimensional.

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Poster: high flow Date: Oct 25, 2006 11:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Under Rated Member of the Band

Hmmmm. Maybe that's why I love '71 so much? I'll have to re-listen...

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Poster: thewomble Date: Oct 26, 2006 12:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Under Rated Member of the Band

Go for Ann Arbor in December. The Black Peter there encapsulates everything I love about the Dead. The rhythm works like reggae, and once you are in it you want it never to stop. The song is quiet and sparse, then builds to a tremendous climax in the middle before falling back again. There is time for long slow lead lines from Garcia that hang in the air. This is music that doesn't reach out and hit you. You have to go into it, into that world. That's what makes it so different from normal Rock and Roll. There's a great moment on 10th Novemebr 71 when Garcia answers someone calling up from the audience by saying 'If you want Rock and Roll go listen to Grand Funk!' They were doing something else. It wouldn't have worked in a big stadium full of partying and shouting. It's intimate. Lesh more or less said that when interviewed by a British reporter in 1981, and he complained that in America the band had taken to turning up the volume to drown out the audience, and it was a relief to come somewhere where people came to listen rather than party so the band could go back to being subtle and employing a full range of dynamics. Stadium rock requires bombast, and with Hart in the band they could deliver in spades. There are times when that is what we need to hear. But returning afterwards to the original band is like drinking crystaline water.

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Poster: orchiddoctor Date: Oct 21, 2006 6:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Most Under Rated Member of the Band

Billy was (and is) THE drummer for the Grateful Dead. Mickey's addition in 1967 did propel them into the psychedelic stratosphere, but his absence in 1971-74 didn't hurt things a bit--no more than T.C.'s departure in January 1970. In fact, Billy took the helm at the second Portchester show--the night after Mickey left--and didn't miss a beat. Some credit Keith with the "jazzy" sound of 72-77, but Billy is just as responsible. Mickey's return in 1975 actually hurt the band as they had to alter thier sound to accomodate him rather than the other way around.

What a drummer! What a musician. Mickey is good as well; he just talks too much.


But, then again, my answer is Pig Pen. We don't really have much evidence of his position in '65--'67; whether he really "fronted" the band or not, he gave them street credibility with his blues and r&b authenticity. If you ever saw him do "Smokestack Lightning" in 1970 or "Hard to Handle" in 1971 or--best for last--"Lovelight," you know what I mean. If not, play a tape from 1968--listen to him testify on Caution--or 1969 orany of his years--listen to Copenhagen 1972 where he does that amazing rap on "Good Lovin."

I could not believe when when "Skullfuck" was released in 1971 with only Big Boss Man on it. The Fillmore East set makes up for this oversight with classic Pig--Good Lovin', Hard to Handle, Lovelight, others--showing his real contribution to the band.

As they say, when Pig raps, you'd better listen up. And take yo' hands out of yo' pockets.